(Release Info London schedule; October 22nd, 2020, Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Road, Bethnal Green, London E1 4UJ, United Kingdom, 21:00)
"The Other Lamb"
The cult is all Selah (Denise Gough) knows until one day she begins to question it's leader and the insular world she's born into in this haunting vision of a nightmarish awakening.
Selah is a young girl born into an alternative religion known as 'The Flock". 'The Flock', a group of 20 women live in the secluded 'Pacific Northwest'. The members of 'The Flock', all women and female children, live in a rural compound, and are led by one man, known only as 'The Shepherd' (Michiel Huisman). 'The Shephard' is the patriarch of their all-female cult. He's a controlling, messiah-like figure with a frightening dark side. For her entire life, the cult she was born into has been all that teenage Selah has known. Along with a band of similarly cloistered young women she lives seemingly unstuck in time, cut off from modern society in a remote forest. The women worship him with their bodies as well as their faith, as testified by the number of exclusively female children they’ve brought into the tribe. Life with 'Shephard' is the only life Selah has ever known. Their self-sufficient community possesses no modern technology, and is hidden away in the woods, far from modern civilization. 'Shephard' is the group’s guardian, teacher and lover. Each of the many female members of the group is either his wife or daughter. Selah is pure in faith, but also dangerously headstrong. She was raised as a daughter of 'Shephard', but it's only a matter of time before she stands to become a wife.
As an encounter with the authorities forces women and Selah to build a 'New Eden' further inland, Selah increasingly doubts her faith, and has strange, bloody visions. The onset of puberty brings with it harsh new rituals, and her first shocking glimpse of what happens to 'Shephard’s' women as they age. Selah, who's on the cusp of teenage-hood, is an incredibly devoted follower, but begins to bond with Sarah (Raffey Cassidy), an outcast wife who has grown skeptical of 'The Shepherd's' teachings. Selah is given the great honor of participating in the sacred ritual of the birthing of the lambsn, upon which they depend for survival, where she has a shocking and transformative experience. She begins to have strange visions that make her question her own reality, and everything 'The Shepherd' has taught her and her sisters. When her insular world is rocked by a series of nightmarish visions and disturbing revelations, Selah begins to question everything about her existence, including her allegiance to the increasingly dangerous 'Shepherd'. Awash in images of primal, dreamlike dread, this provocative fable is a haunting vision of adolescent awakening and revolt.
"The Other Lamb" chronicles the journey of Selah, a young woman who begins to question her upbringing and worldview as she comes to the realization that 'The Shepherd', the charismatic and handsome male leader of the cult she has grown up in, is in fact a false prophet. 'The Shepherd’s' striking physicality and charisma is merely an illusion of strength; it's actually Selah who demonstrates incredible fortitude and clarity as she faces off with difficult contradictions within her life that arise as 'The Shepherd’s' authority slowly begins to erode. Selah has a screen presence that's unabashedly wild and modern, which exists in stark contrast with the tradition and severity that 'The Shepherd' brings. Whether speaking or silent, both characters anchor the film with an exceptional intensity. Even when they aren’t sharing a scene together, it feels like they're going toe to toe. The film is also steeped in rain, fog, and rotten leaves, which adds a raw texture to the atmosphere that further complements Selah’s growing defiance. Her emancipation, while rewarding, is by no means a form of wish fulfillment or a simple resolution. When we’re with her at the end, we must ask ourselves, where do we go from here? Selah’s story is enduring, one that can speak to our past, present, and future.
"The Other Lamb" is a film for modern times; a dark cry against the patriarchy. The story is very much an allegory for the present moment, a moment where women across the world are rewriting history by coming forward in droves about the abuses that they've faced at the hands of powerful men over the years. At it's core, this is a film about power, specifically the different ways in which it's ow exercised, understood, dismantled, and co-opted. Framed through the lens of a coming-of-age story, In order to further underscore the quality of the film, it's actually very important that we position the narrative outside of a specific time period and location because not unlike a fairy tale. "The Other Lamb" develops a world that reflected this particular sensibility. Audiences that come to see "The Other Lamb" leave the theater feeling both reinvigorated and challenged by Selah’s revolutionary journey. The cult operates as a microcosm for the physical and psychological horrors that women must contend with throughout their lives.